December 2019 - Christmas McCarty Ministry Minute
It’s time to hear from Tracy in the annual McCarty Christmas Letter - so I will leave the Family Update to her this time around. PLUS, there has been so much going on in Africa, there is a LOT to share! I will be interjecting a few “Prayer Alerts” throughout this update. Please join us in prayer for these important things! There is only so much one can share in a newsletter - so, I extend an invitation to you all: If you would like to grab a cup of coffee and hear more details and stories of what God has been doing - CONTACT ME! (my cell: 940-595-1562) I’d love to hear what’s been going on in your life and share more about the work in Africa. It has truly been astounding!
And now - here's Tracy...
It's CHRISTMAS Time!
Merry Christmas Dear Friends and Family! The McCarty family has had a year full of ups and downs in 2019, and we are grateful for this season of reflection when we can give praise and adoration to our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We are praying for each of you as you celebrate Christmas and the New Year, that your days are full of joy, rest, and peace.
From September 2018 through July 2019 it seemed that our family was spending more time with a family member in a hospital than at home. Vival spent many weeks in the hospital last year due to complications after colon surgery, and then continued to be in and out of the hospital until July of this summer. We are beyond thankful that she is now healed, full of energy, and enjoying life to the fullest! Dustin, too, had a set back due to some heart medication changes, which earned him a hospital stay in May. Once again, God was good, and Dustin got out of the hospital just in time for Trinity’s graduation and to travel as planned as a chaperone on her senior trip. He is fully recovered as well, and has not missed a beat with work or traveling with Strategic Impact.
Speaking of Dustin (seen below with a few crazy members of an outreach team in Lesotho), he has traveled to Africa three times this year. In March, Strategic Impact held their first ALL-Africa Fan-the-Flame Summit, gathering their senior leaders (National Directors and above) from across Sub-Saharan Africa and West Africa. The time of sharing and growing together was life changing as men gathered together with a shared heart and purpose to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ, and equip others to do the same. He also traveled in June and November, each time building upon the work in Ghana, Lesotho, and other countries as well. Additionally, Dustin continues to diligently extend friendship and understanding to many homeless individuals in our community through an outreach on Saturday mornings at a local park, helping with tangible needs, and providing practical wisdom and help to those who need it. His role at Denton Community Church continues as well, and he delights in helping our congregation find places in our community to plug in according to their individual interests and gifts. Finally, he continues to teach Missions Geography a few days a week at Denton Calvary Academy.
I, Tracy (seen below guiding a rider through an obstacle), have had a full and busy year as I’ve continued teaching at Born 2 Be Therapeutic Equestrian Center, been a manager for the Silver Saddle 4-H Club, served our Denton County 4-H Council and Parent Leadership Association, as well as walked through home days of school with Sierra and Remi. My students at Born 2 Be never cease to amaze me in their ability to shine through adversity. They inspire me to never give up and to find joy in every moment. My role as teacher/mom on the girl’s home days from Denton Calvary Academy has shifted drastically this year as they are primarily independent workers, and they attend school on the same days! This is the first time since the fall of 2001 that I have not had kids attending elementary school! Rest assured, I’ve found plenty of things to keep me occupied!
Excitement has filled our family this year as Dakota and Cody have bought their first home (as you can see below)! We have all enjoyed helping them with their move - hauling, painting, cleaning, organizing, etc. Seeing them experience Christmas in their new home has been a delight! Dakota continues to thrive in her position as a Physical Therapist at Medical City Lewisville. It comes as no shock to us that her patients not only adore her, but also heal physically and emotionally under her care. Cody continues to be indispensable in his role at Moore Supply as he oversees one of their remote warehouses for a large client. His diligence, organizational skills, and attention to detail have allowed this branch to work seamlessly.
Our sweet Trinity Lynn is finishing her first semester at Texas Woman’s University (seen in her dorm room on her first day on campus)! How this can be possible, I have no idea. Just yesterday she was on my hip (all day long!) and wouldn’t let anyone else hold her. Today, she is a delightful, intelligent Dietetics major who is blossoming as a college student. In May, she graduated as Valedictorian of her class at Denton Calvary Academy, which earned her the Presidential Scholarship at TWU. Living on campus on a floor alongside other Honor’s College students has been a growing experience for her and the friendships she is developing obviously bring her joy.
Remington Skye is now a freshman at Denton Calvary Academy. As the tallest McCarty girl (which she is happy to accentuate with heels on occasion), she is enjoying playing volleyball and basketball, and will play tennis in the spring. She recently was selected for the All Region Choir and will perform in January alongside other high school students from across north and west Texas in Abilene. She loves to sing, continues to enjoy riding horses as she has time, as well as continuing in 4-H. She is also the President of the Freshman Student Council and has proven to be a loving and faithful friend to her classmates.
Sierra Justace (seen below returning a donkey who got out at Born2Be) is now in middle school as a 6th Grader! Her mettle was tested in volleyball this school year and she rose to the occasion learning the positions and plays. She is taking guitar and voice lessons, is the Treasurer for Silver Saddle 4-H, and enjoys riding her pony, Houdini. She is truly a delight, showing deep compassion for those who are hurting and an ability to bring them comfort. We are looking forward to her trying her hand in both tennis and drama in the spring.
Trinity suggested we direct our music loving family to vacation in Nashville this summer, and we happily tried something new! The history of the city, the beauty of being there for the 4th of July, the time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and the remote country house we rented brought much needed rest and family time. The Grand Ole Opry was, of course, a highlight of the trip, along with exploring the Ryman Theater, attending a Nashville Sounds baseball game, and browsing quaint shops. The firework show downtown was magnificent as the Nashville Symphony Orchestra accompanied it!
Once again, the Lord has exhibited his faithfulness to us this year. He never faltered in walking alongside us through both hard and easy times. He continues to teach us and uphold us, and to grow each of us in areas of both strength and weakness. We are thankful for His unending love, grace, and mercy. My encouragement to my family and yours is that we will each find opportunity to reflect on His love this Christmas, seek opportunities to share His love with others, rest in His unchanging grace, and seek to glorify Him each moment of every day.
May God Bless You and Keep you,
Stories from the Field
Struggles in Burkina Faso - West Africa
As I recently expanded oversight in Africa to include our work in West Africa, I journeyed to the hub of our activity and the home of Stephen Aputara, our West Africa Regional Director in Northern Ghana… right by the border of Burkina Faso. We had planned to have a combined training with our top leaders in both Ghana and Burkina Faso, but due to jihadist activities in Burkina, only our National Director could travel down to join us. This was the case again a few weeks ago when Aputara was gathering leaders to equip them further in raising and releasing local church planting teams - no one could come down from Burkina due to the terrorist activities. In fact, the Sunday prior to the training taking place, another church was set on fire in Victor Oueraogo’s (our Burkina Faso National Director) city of Bobo-Dioulasso killing 14 church members. In spite of the persecution, the gospel is marching forward! Stephen and Victor have both said that these threats have brought many people to ask questions about God and salvation and eternity. Our teams are capitalizing on these opportunities to spread the love of Christ and the clear gospel while equipping new leaders to plant cell churches as new believers come to faith! God is on the move! Please pray for Burkina Faso!
Law Changes in Burundi - Sub-Sahara Africa
In 2018, we saw the devastating effects of some law changes in Rwanda placing heavy restrictions on the church. This year it is once again clear why we must continue our work in training nationals to reach their own countrymen. Our leaders in Burundi have reported that laws are now in place requiring all leadership of churches, ministries, and non-profits to be Burundian only. That means (as they clarified) that one cannot be from any other country of origin and lead an organization of this type - nor even be present in meetings where directional or major decisions are made. Our priority in training nationals to reach their own nations is critical for times like these! Please pray for our growing work in Burundi and for leaders to be raised up and trained to take local ownership!
A Second Change in Lesotho - Sub-Sahara Africa
Mid-November found me back in Lesotho to coach and assist the local SI Team as they expand and multiply further to move toward healthy autonomy. The team, under the faithful guidance of Lesotho National Director, Henry Khoabane, had scheduled our Basic Leadership Thrust 3-day intensive training in Thetsane (a community within the capital city of Maseru). It was our second time to be hosted by ACTS Church, and we had a wonderful time! 42 Leaders representing 17 different churches from 3 nations were equipped in Godly Character, Leadership Skills, and Multiplication Movements as well as the shared practical experience of Personal Evangelism and One-on-One Discipleship of the new believers. There were 52 new believers won to the Lord during the training, and 32 of the Leaders launched into the ongoing training called the School of Multiplying Church Planters. Henry and the Lesotho National Team will now follow up with each of the Pastors to guide them in training their own people on-site and begin their ongoing multiplication of Leaders, Disciples, and Cell Churches in their own communities!
So what about that “Second Chance?” Time and again, I have seen the practice of Personal Evangelism in Africa take on the tone of preaching down to the lost or even belittling them with both words and tone of condemnation and judgment. We train that the attitude of love must be the motivation and root of Personal Evangelism [see 2 Cor. 5:14 and 1 Peter 3:15]. If a person refuses Christ after hearing the gospel, then we train leaders to lovingly ask if there is any need that we can pray about on their behalf… always leaving the “aroma of Christ” behind [2 Cor. 2:15]. While I was out sharing the gospel in a neighborhood in Thetsane along with 2 other leaders from the training, I saw a familiar face! It was the face of an older woman - she recognized me immediately and welcomed us to her front porch. The last time I was in Thetsane for a training was over a year ago, but she remembered our encounter (not hard, as I do NOT blend in!). She also remembered the kindness our team had shown her and that we had prayed for her needs. She desired for us to pray for her again, as she is suffering from complications from diabetes and a stomach ailment. She said she was almost 70 years old (the life expectancy in Lesotho is 52). When we shared the gospel with her previously, she refused Christ… but this time, she received Jesus with gladness as one of the young leaders with me again shared! I wish you could have seen the immediate change in her countenance. Her eyes were brighter, her partially-toothed smile came out… she even stood taller! Please pray for her healing, and for those leaders whom we trained as they follow up with her in Discipleship so she may know Jesus more and more. In the photo above, you can see all the leaders together on my last day with the larger group. Pray for them as they start the ongoing training and for the Lesotho National Team as they follow up and coach them along!
DAY 1 of the Training in Thetane, Lesotho:
DAY 2 of the Training in Thetane, Lesotho:
DAY 3 of the Training in Thetane, Lesotho:
Join the Team!
These few stories are just a small sample of what God is doing in Africa through Strategic Impact! But a hard truth is this: The more we expand, the more resources are needed to sustain the work. If the Lord leads you to help us start off 2020 in a stronger financial position, we would be very grateful! In addition to prayer (the greatest need), there are 2 financial ways to support us in the work:
Make an end-of-year gift.
Join our monthly support team!
You may send gifts by mail to Strategic Impact, PO Box 1901, Denton, TX 76202, send a text from your smart phone to 817-799-6161 and follow the prompts, or go to www.StrategicImpactInternational.com/give and click on our photo.
The ministry is Biblical. The vision is clear. The need is great. The fruit is substantial.
STRATEGIC IMPACT is a 501(c)(3) in good standing,
so your financial gifts are tax-deductible, greatly appreciated, and wisely stewarded.
None of this would be possible without YOUR partnership in prayer and giving.
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
- The McCartys
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